A few days ago I was buying newspapers in a local super market and there were two young boys of Coastal origin around the age of 7 just behind me in the queue. On the front cover of the East African Standard was Kibaki’s picture and one of the boys said, ‘yule babu ni mwizi’ (that grandpa is a thief). The other boy chuckled and said rather obviously, ‘eeh! Si nasikia ni Mkikuyu’ (Yeah, I hear he’s a Kikuyu). The other boy expressed shock that even grandpas steal.
I doubt these young boys knew too much about the inner workings of politics. For now the idea forming in their minds is that the average thief is most likely a Kikuyu. Or, God forbid, that the average Kikuyu is a thief! Coming from children, that was rather uncomfortable. Those were just 2 kids who are living comfortably in their homes and did not feel the effects of the post election chaos as such. Now there are those who have watched their parents and relative butchered and burnt. And those who are living as IDPs in camps - whose schooling and social lives came to a near halt. I worry about the ideas that have been planted into their minds. Some time back children living in camps were asked to express what was on their minds in form of drawings. A lot of them drew pictures of bows, arrows, fire and blood. It will take a lot to rid their young minds of such images but for the sake of future peace it has to be done.
Teachers, parents and counselors will have to work extra hard to cleanse this generation so they’re able to live in harmony with other tribes in future. Otherwise the hatred will always be in their minds and a single spark in future could ignite worse violence. We’ve seen it happen.